Friday 17 April 2020

Seven Planets - Explorer

Labels: Small Stone Recordings/Kozmik Artifactz
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital
Release Date: 07 Feb 2020


1. Vanguard
2. Plain Truth In A Homespun Dress
3. Explorer
4. 206
5, Seven Seas
6. Great Attractor
7. Grissom
8. The Buzzard

Tonight's review was a toss up between some crazy fast math/grind and some trippy, instrumental heavy rock. The trippy, instrumental heavy rock won and here we are. West Virginia's (US) Seven Planets released their third full-length Explorer via fellow US label Small Stone Recordings and German label Kozmik Artifactz, on vinyl, cd and digitally in early February. Seven Planets have been plying their trade since 2006, when they released their debut album Flight Of The Ostrich, following it up in 2012 with Seven Planets.

Trippy and instrumental is probably the most obvious way to describe this album from Seven Planets. Explorer opens with ‘Vanguard’ and it’s groovy riffs, bluesy melodies and subtle low-end/percussion. It’s a relatively short opener for a band of their ilk but it sets things up nicely. This record isn’t heavy in the dissonant noisy sense, but it is in atmosphere. ‘Plain Truth In A Homespun Dress’ is measured and musically perfect. It’s strangely relaxing and hypnotic. I guess that’s the vibe that Seven Planets are going for and they’ve damn near perfected it here.

No vocals are needed on this record to help guide things along, as the guitars do that with aplomb. The album’s title track ‘Explorer’ is where things really start to take off. A pensive build-up and fuzz-laden riffs work in harmony to get things well and truly going. It’s a catchy song without being showy or overblown. The production/mixing/mastering is spot on as well, as it throughout the album. I love the way ‘206’ follows on musically from ‘Explorer’. The mesmerising riffs that called an end to the previous song seem to carry on in the opening bars of ‘206’ and they flow through it’s entirety like some kind of semi-improv hoedown has taken place. Despite my inability to type actual words this evening, the music is coming through loud and clear. 

Talking of mesmerising, ‘Seven Seas’ carries you gently into the album’s second-half with hallucinogenic lead work and casual tokes of groove. Maybe “blues” should have been called “greens” after all. ‘Seven Seas’ is one of the longest songs on Explorer and it’s the one that you truly loose yourself in. Following such a mammoth song was always going to be hard but Seven Planets do it with ‘Great Attractor’, which takes the band’s experimental nature and turns that instrumental talent toward a piece of music that’s genuinely captivating.

The recording studio/rehearsal room sample at the beginning of penultimate song ‘Grissom’ hammers home the jam/improve nature of Seven Planets and it couldn’t be better. The stoner/blues rock that it presents is so relaxing that it makes you almost oblivious to what’s around you. We all need moments of complete calm in our lives right now and this delivers it. Album closer ‘The Buzzard’ sneaks up on you with no warning and precedes to go headlong into your synapse with more phenomenal musicianship and song-writing. It’s a short song to finish on but the urgency only makes you savour it more. I don’t want this album to end and neither will you. 

You can stream Explorer and purchase it on (very limited vinyl), CD and also digitally below:-

If you're in Europe you can head over to Kozmik Artifactz and buy a vinyl copy here -

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